A GRANDFATHER in lockdown has reimagined the Prime Minister as the first Roman emperor in a new painting.

Robert Burns, 72, was inspired to look at Boris Johnson in a new light as the coronavirus crisis escalated in March.

But while he began the painting, the leader was struck down by the disease, almost putting the project on hold.

Robert may be better known to Argus readers for painting his own council house in Coldean, Brighton, with Renaissance works.

Over the years he has also painted celebrities including Russell Brand who he depicted as Christ, ITV presenters Holly Willoughby and Philip Schofield and in 2017 he painted former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn too.

At his home, Robert has recreated the Sistine Chapel ceiling, the masterpiece by Michaelangelo.

Robert said he has been impressed by Boris Johnson as Prime Minister so far and has likened him to the Roman Emperor Augustus, who founded the dynastic rule of the ancient civilisation.

Robert said: “Every time I switched on the television, Boris was there.

“He was being very Churchillian so I decided to paint him.

“Then he got ill, so I had to stop. I heard all the medical reports about him in intensive care and he was lucky to pull through.

“But now he has recovered, I’ve been able to finish it. Augustus was one of the better emperors and founded a dynasty and I thought that I could see Boris in the face.

“I think he is good, I know he picks up a lot of flak, but he has run one of the biggest cities in the world in London, so I think he has got the nous to lead us. He has the credibility and is a mover and shaker in this world.”

Robert said he has had positive feedback on the work, and hopes to appear on the Channel 4 programme hosted by artist Grayson Perry, Art Club, on May 25.